The close relationship that developed between Mario Cuomo and the men and
women of the union movement in New York State during the 1982 campaign for
Governor has remained strong throughout his three terms. The Governor believes
that the labor movement has played a crucial role in shaping our past and must
continue to play a leading role in molding our economy in
the 21st Century.
Governor Cuomo's unwavering commitment to jobs and
opportunity has led to an unrivaled period of innovation and investment that
has produced a net gain of 500,000 jobs, 50,000 new businesses and an economy
poised for a solid comeback. This comeback is evidenced by 70,000 new jobs
created in the last year and unemployment at the lowest level since 1990.
New York has invested $50 billion in its infrastructure under Governor Cuomo,
building or repairing thousands of bridges, 21,000 miles of roads and
overhauling New York City's mass transit system, making it cleaner, safer and
more efficient. This investment has created hundreds of thousands of jobs for
working men and women in New York.
The Governor is propelling the state toward the 21st Century with a massive
$32 billion investment program called "The New, New York." This program will
create more than 300,000 construction and permanent jobs across the state
during the next five years.
Just weeks ago, Governor Cuomo demonstrated his ability to bring labor and
management to the table and mold fair agreements when he helped settle the Long
Island Railroad strike protecting the best interests of over 250,000 Long
Last year, Governor Cuomo provided an important voice of caution against the
dangers of NAFTA characterizing it as a "step backward" for the workers of this
In 1989, the Governor expressed his solidarity with the Eastern Airline
strikers by urging President Bush to establish an Emergency Board to provide a
cooling off period for the two sides to come together and by speaking out
forcefully on behalf of the strikers who had negotiated in good faith.
During the 1990 Daily News strike, Governor Cuomo spoke out publicly and
forcefully against the hiring of permanent replacement workers during such
disputes. Subsequently, the Governor sent his Labor Commissioner to testify in
favor of Senator Metzenbaum's bill to support the insistence on good-faith
bargaining with regard to the hiring of permanent replacement workers.
The Governor has consistently supported New York State's workers --
increasing the state's minimum wage from $3.35 per hour to $4.25 per hour.
The Governor created a special labor team to enforce prevailing wage laws
that ensure union workers get a fair shot at public works projects.
For those workers who have suffered dislocations or job loss due to the
changes in our economy, the Governor has established one
of the most aggressive retraining programs in the country. In Western New York
alone, more than 40,000 steelworkers have been retrained through state
To protect our children, the Governor signed the strongest child labor law in
Last year, the Governor issued guidelines requiring state agencies to
consider a potential contractor's compliance with labor law and environmental regulations, employee and public safety
standards, as well as previous performance with other state agencies before
awarding them a contract.
The Governor has both improved worker safety and lowered worker compensation
premium rates through the Worker's Compensation Reform package. Among other
initiatives, this legislation improves rate equity for small businesses and
establishes an Ombudsman Office responsible for resolving problems encountered
by injured workers and their employers.
Governor Cuomo has asked state entities to evaluate the benefits of
negotiating pre-hire agreements on a case-by-case basis to ensure as many union
workers are employed as possible. The New York State Thruway Authority has
recently signed such an agreement for construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge,
and the Dormitory Authority is considering an agreement for upcoming projects
at the Roswell Park medical facility.
New York's Department of Labor showed it wouldn't tolerate homework in the
garment industry when it uncovered a scandal in the industry -- immigrant
families (including children and grandparents) working all day for $1. The
state's $153,000 fine against Teammate Fashions, Inc./Reflex Accessories Inc.
was the largest fine for industrial homework in the state's history.
The Governor's Skilled Worker Emeritus Program is bringing the most
outstanding skilled workers in the state together with the young people
interested in learning about the skilled trades. Since its inception, this
program has allowed over 72,000 people to learn about these trades from the
very best workers in their respective fields.
The Governor is creating new employment opportunities across the state by
requesting that New York housing agencies work with the Department of Labor to
link housing developers with registered job training programs.